Research Round Up: January 2020

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This month, we have been debunking common detoxing myths and talking all things New Year’s Resolutions. Here at Nuzest HQ, we are committed to educating consumers through current research and providing resources and inspiration to help them be the happiest and healthiest versions of themselves.

As part of this commitment, we thought that it would be fun to share a ’round up’ of the research that catches our eye every month and break it down into easy-to-digest summaries for you.

This month, we look at whether cleansing diets improve cravings, energy and sleep quality; we debunk the age-old myth that it takes 21- days to form a habit; and explore what happens to the blood glucose response when sugar is swapped for stevia!

Woman in sports clothes sitting on her bed and surfing the internet for research

‘Cleansing’ diets significantly improve self-reported health markers relating to cravings, energy levels and sleep quality

A small exploratory study in a community of Appalachia, US, has discovered that ‘detox’ diets purported to eliminate toxins from the body significantly improve certain self-reported health measures.

Volunteers for the study participated in a pre-defined ‘clean’ diet for three weeks and completed three anonymous surveys to track their progress: one pretest before beginning the program (PRE), one roughly one week after completion (1wPOST) and one follow-up eight weeks after the end of the diet period (8wPOST).

Thirty-four individuals completed the PRE surveys, 15 individuals completed the 1wPOST surveys and eight individuals completed the 8wPOST surveys. Results comparing the PRE, 1wPOST and 8wPOST surveys found significant overall differences seen in the health characteristics of craving sweet/salty foods, “giving in” to cravings, energy levels and sleep quality.

Due to the small sample size of this study and the fact that no clinical outcomes were measured, further research is needed to determine whether cleanses actually improve cravings, energy levels and sleep quality. However, the results of this exploratory study do provide interesting insight into the potential benefits that cleanses may have on mindset and the positive impact this may have on overall health.

Davisson L, Sofka S. “Cleanse” detoxification diet program in Appalachia: Participant characteristics and perceived health effects. J Complement Integr Med 2019;pii: /j/jcim.ahead-of-print/jcim-2018-0174/jcim-2018-0174.xml.

Read our article Detox Diets Part 1: Do Detox Diets Really Work? to see what the research says on this popular topic!

two happy women in sports clothes running and giving each other a hi-five

How the fallacy of the 21-day new healthy habit began with plastic surgery

With new year’s resolutions well underway, many people might still be thinking that it only takes 21 days to form a new habit. Truth be told though; this is simply not correct. In fact, it’s more likely to take you around three times as long.

According to an article in the British Journal of General Practice, forming a new habit within 21 days is unrealistic, and instead, it is more likely to take you 66 days for automaticity to plateau (meaning, it takes about 66 days for you to adopt a behaviour into your normal, everyday, autopilot routine).

It appears though that this myth originated from anecdotal evidence around patients who had received plastic surgery treatment and took approximately 21 days to psychologically adjust to their new appearance. Unfortunately for the rest of us however, this adjustment period somehow made its way into guidance around health habit formation.

Thankfully though, the article explores how psychological theory and evidence around simple and sustainable habit-formation suggests that working effortfully on a new habit for two to three months is the best way to make a new habit second nature! So simply starting on your resolution and working at it till the end of March should see you well on your way to making a healthy habit for life.

Gardner B, Lally P, Wardle J. Making health habitual: the psychology of ‘habit-formation’ and general practice. Br J Gen Pract 2012;62(605):664-666.

Have you seen our 5 Exercise and Lifestyle Tips to Create a Happier and Healthier You this New Year? If not, click here to read.

chocolate block cacao

How combining stevia and cocoa when baking muffins may help reduce glycaemic response

Muffins are delicious. There’s no doubt about it. But generally, they contain high amounts of sugar that when over-consumed, isn’t always so good for your health. As a team of nutrition-conscious foodies (hence why we love adding Nuzest Clean Lean Protein to our baking) we are always looking for ways to make the foods we love better for us and our tastebuds. Thankfully, a group of scientists from China and New Zealand heard our baking prayers and decided to test ways in which to make muffins healthier, while still remaining scrumptious. The results were published in Foods journal.

The aim of the study was to evaluate the effect of replacing sugar in muffins with either 50% or 100% stevia alongside adding natural flavour enhancers (cocoa and vanilla) for their effect on the physical properties of muffins and postprandial (after-meal) glycaemic response in comparison to a control muffin formulation with no stevia, cocoa or vanilla.

The results of the study? Nutritious and delicious.

The team discovered that replacing the sugar with stevia significantly improved in vitro (test tube) glycaemic response during digestion and helped to reduce the blood glucose response that is so commonly experienced following the consumption of high sugary foods. This is due to the fact that stevia lacks the calories and carbohydrates of sucrose, meaning there are no sugars released during digestion.

The study concludes that the full or partial replacement of sugar with stevia in muffins produces a treat with quality characteristics close to that of a full-sucrose muffin sample, however with greater associated health benefits thanks to a reduction in postprandial blood sugar levels. The results of this study provide an interesting avenue for future clinical (human) research.

Gao J, Guo X, Brennan MA, et al. The potential of modulating the reducing sugar released (and the potential glycemic response) of muffins using a combination of a stevia sweetener and cocoa powder. Foods 2019;8(10):pii:E644.

We had Clinical Nutritionist and Researcher Cliff Harvey investigate whether Stevia is safe to consume. See what he found in this article Stevia: Good or Bad? Everything you need to know.

Disclaimer: The information provided on Nuzest is for educational and informational purposes only. The information provided on this site is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional advice or care. Please speak to your qualified healthcare professional in the event that something you have read here raises questions or concerns regarding your health.